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This poem is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

Poems Alison Brackenbury

UNDER THE HILL

Sir, said Gawaine, an I had leisure I would speak with you, but my fellow here, Sir Ector, is gone, and abideth me yonder beneath the hill.

What are you doing, at eight o'clock
Over the mountains, driving through Turkey?
Reading worn maps in the hired car
As slopes crouch: with curfew four hours away?
Or set on a stool, as the engine driver
Shunts, clanging trucks? He runs over the track
To his house: brings, as promised, a daughter back
To guide you in English. She smiles with black eyes;
Her hand hides her mouth. Embroidering
Smoke's curtain, great sparks dazzle, rise.

I can tell you, simply, what I have done.
It is frost: hard frost. The moon, bruised silver, chills.
I am coming home from work. The others found
It hard that we should travel so, alone,
...


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